Igor Stravinsky

Concerto in D, for string orchestra in D major ("Basel Concerto")

    Description by James Leonard

    Paul Sacher's 1946 commission for a work to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of his Basler Kammerorchester was Stravinsky's first European commission after moving to America. Stravinsky began the composition on the Concerto in D in early 1946 and completed it on August 8 of the same year in his home in Hollywood. The work received its first performance by Sacher and the Basler Kammerorchester on January 27, 1947, in Basel, and the work is dedicated to them. For this reason the work is sometimes referred to as the "Basle Concerto."

    Written for string orchestra, the Concerto in D was Stravinsky's first work for string orchestra since Apollon Musagète (1927-1928). It is approximately the same length and in approximately the same form as the Dumbarton Oaks Concerto (1937-1938) and the Ebony Concerto (1945), which directly preceded the composition of the Concerto in D. All three works are in three movements in the fast-slow-fast order of the Baroque concerto grosso, and all three works feature the contrast of concertino and ripieno typical of the concerto grosso. In the Concerto in D, the movements are Vivace, Arioso: Andantino and Rondo: Allegro. The opening Vivace is roughly in sonata form; that is, the outer section functions as an exposition whose themes are repeated in approximately the same order at the movement but the central section is in a slower Moderato tempo. The central Arioso: Andantino features one of Stravinsky's few long, lyrical melodies for violins, punctuated twice by perfect cadences in unrelated keys. The concluding Rondo: Allegro is longer than the first two movements together and is in Stravinsky's typical middle-1940s spiky rhythm.

    The Concerto in D was one of Stravinsky's last tonal works. Only Orpheus (1947), the Mass (1944/1947)and The Rake's Progress (1948-1951) followed it. Although at the time of its composition it seemed to be another in the series of pastiche works Stravinsky had composed since Pulcinella (1919-1920) -- works that used the styles of earlier composers to furnish Stravinsky with the raw material for his compositions -- the Concerto in D and Orpheus have come to be viewed retrospectively as the tired works of a composer for whom style and tonality had become a burden.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Vivace
    2. Arioso. Andantino
    3. Rondo. Allegro

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 MDG / MDG Gold MDG 9401955
    2016 BIS BIS 2211
    2016 EuroArts / Warner Classics 555050
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646777044
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4796018
    2015 Sony Classical 88875026162
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon B002398272
    2013 Hyperion CDA 67870
    2013 Broken Audio BRAU 1014
    2012 Entertainment Group 13010
    2012 ECM / Universal Music Group
    2012 Warner Classics 684377
    2012 DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894770055
    2011 ECM 219094
    2011 ECM 4764509
    2011 Brilliant Classics 9010
    2011 Decca
    2010 Digital
    2010 Decca
    2010 Warner Classics 256468475
    2010 Newton Classics 8802013
    2008 Rca Red Seal 82876502682
    2008 Music & Arts 1211
    2008 Decca 4738102
    2007 Sony Classical Essential Classics 103112
    2007 Onyx ONYX 4017
    2006 RCO / RCO Live 06004
    2005 Haenssler 98488
    2005 Arte Nova 862360
    2005 ECM 4721862
    2004 PentaTone Classics 5186046
    2004 Andante 1140
    2004 Artemis Classics ATMCD1515
    2003 Past Perfect 205633
    2002 Arte Nova 86236
    2002 GM Recordings 2060
    2000 ECM 827024
    2000 DG Deutsche Grammophon 453 458-2GH
    2000 Aura Classics 0164
    1999 Chandos 8515
    1997 MusicMasters 67177
    1997 Arte Nova 49706
    1996 Vanguard 8055
    1995 Naxos 550979
    1995 DG Deutsche Grammophon 447435
    1995 Globe 5071
    1995 Naxos 8 553217
    1994 ECM 21304
    1994 London 440327
    1991 Sony Music Distribution 46290
    1991 Sony Music Distribution 46667
    1990 RCA Victor Red Seal 60370
    1988 Decca / DG Deutsche Grammophon
    1988 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4232522
    Past Perfect 205638
    Samsung Classics 013
    Ermitage 156
    RCA 60156
    Cypres 5606
    Fonit-Cetra Italia 2031
    Sony Music Distribution 46296
    Virgin 562022